Tag Archives: Praydreaming

The Power of Imagination…

‘Praydreaming’

     The other day I was organizing our kitchen pantry.

     As I often do when tackling tedious tasks, I listened to Youtube videos. Brene’ Brown is a favorite. I appreciate the research she’s done concerning shame and vulnerability. One segment was her interview with Oprah Winfrey. Near the conclusion, Brown told Oprah, “One of the things I love about you is that you are both a student and a teacher.” What a lovely compliment, I thought. One I’d welcome receiving.

     Those words apply to today’s post. In the matter of ‘praydreaming,’ I’m a student. Since I will be sharing with you a little of what I know about this life-giving practice, that makes me a teacher.

     Again, quotes in today’s post come from the book I referenced last time (http://suereeve.com/the-power-of-imagination-3/), God’s Voice Within by Mark Thibodeaux, S. J. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do so. It provides an important foundation.

     We all have desires, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve often had questions and confusion about those desires. I love this Ignatian insight:

“We fall into sin when we are ignorant of the true, God-given desires beneath the apparent desire. We sin, not because we are in touch with our desires, but precisely because we are not in touch with them.

How then do I tap into these great desires? I dream…I let God dream in me, and I sit in silent awe and wonder as these holy dreams come to life before the eyes and ears of my soul.”

     If you decide to practice ‘praydreaming,’ here are some ideas for situations I’ve experienced or from talking with others.

  • Offered a promotion. The job seems perfect, but it will require relocation.
  • Elderly parent needs a higher level of care, and I want to care in the best possible way.
  • Thinking about starting a new ministry. The thought excites and terrifies me.
  • Wonder if I should: go back to work; look for a new job; pursue higher education; or retire.
  • It feels like God may want me to go overseas to minister to women rescued from sex trafficking.
  • Don’t feel good about the way my husband and I are relating since retirement.
  • Desire to develop a good relationship with my step-kids/grandkids but don’t know how.

     List some ideas that pop into your head—both pro and con—about your unique situation. Jot down two to four different ideas in each category.

     I like Thibodeaux’s suggestion to start by asking, “What is my purpose in life?’ His answer is always the same: “To praise, reverence and serve God.” Then he asks: “How am I uniquely called to do this?”

     Next, invite God to dream in you. Choose a silent place, and begin to let your imagination run wild, one idea at a time.

     As you work through this process—one which will most likely take several days or even longer—consider which ideas fill you with the feeling God is smiling, or as Thibodeaux suggests, “…leaves me with a deep-down peace and tranquility…a sense of rightness…fits-like-a-glove sort of feeling.” Conversely, which ideas leave you feeling cold, disturbed, distant from God or just plain yucky!

     I believe God is trustworthy. When I am seeking God’s direction, I won’t be led astray. As I ‘praydream’ possibilities, I’ve found imaginations, either positive or negative, will often be confirmed through

     Scripture;

          conversations with a respected friend or mentor;

               words of a song, book, sermon or video;

                    a dream, or as I experienced recently, through a friend’s dream about me;

                         unforeseen circumstances.

     Of the Good Shepherd, Psalm 23 says,

Ron and I got a kick out of this country road sign—both directions were Montana Way! We wondered how GPS would deal with the directions. Sometimes, discerning God’s path feels as confusing as this road sign.

Blessings as you invite God to dream in you…

Sue Reeve

 

The Power of Imagination…

Desiring God’s Desires

The soul is the place where
God’s desires and my desires intersect.

     I thought today’s post would conclude the three-part series I’ve been writing about the imagination, but alas, I realized I must write one more. In the first, I introduced you to the 16th Century saint, Ignatius of Loyola, who during a season of convalescence, experienced how imagination was a powerful spiritual tool that drew him into a deeper knowledge of and love for God.

     My second post explored the importance of disciplining our imagination so unchecked thoughts don’t take us to places that can rob us of the joy and abundant life our loving, good God desires for us. I’ve not only experienced this first-hand, but I’ve observed it countless times while conducting pastoral counseling with wonderful Christians who find themselves in distressing situations, which most likely, would have been averted if they had done what the Apostle Paul suggested in 2 Corinthians 2:5.

     In today’s post we will explore our desires aligning with God’s desires.

The psalmist David said,

     I don’t know about you, but I want the entirety of my soul to desire God’s desires. When I began working with a Spiritual Director, Dr. Debbie Gill sensed my desire, and it was she who introduced me to Ignatius and a book, God’s Voice Within…The Ignatian Way to Discover God’s Will by Mark Thibodeaux, SJ. The quotes, including the introductory quote, in today’s post are all taken from this book. I invite you to consider the following:

  • The foundation for a Christian desiring God’s desires must be the unshakable belief that:
    • God is good, and God’s desires for me are good;
    • God has given me free will and will not violate my free will;
    • God wants to partner with me, and God’s Spirit is anxious to guide me to the place where my desires are in alignment with God’s.
  • Next, I agree with Thibodeaux, “It’s not enough simply to believe that God exists and that God is good. Deep in the soul, we have experienced God’s presence and God’s personal love for us. This is an intimacy in which God seems to be gazing at us directly and specifically. “By name I have called you,” says God through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 43:1)
  • God is imaginative, and because we have been created in God’s very image, we carry strands of Divine-Imagination DNA.
  • In the Garden the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, …nevertheless, not my will but yours be done. (Luke 22:42) I must be willing to do the same with my desires—whatever they are. Ignatius called this relinquishment of the outcome of my desires, Magis: Dreaming of the greater glory of God. The desire to choose that which gives God more glory.

     ‘Praydreaming’ is a concept my Spiritual Director introduced to me, and I find it a very life-giving exercise to use in trying to decide (discern) when making an important decision about what God’s best direction is for me. Although I still have much to learn, I will unpack this concept to the best of my ability next Monday, July 8th.

Until then, my prayer is that your desires and God’s desires will intersect…

Sue Reeve